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[253] the command reached a point where the wagon train was moved to the right, upon a cross road which intersected that upon which the troops moved at right angles. Here the column was posted to resist the cavalry of the enemy—Merritt's and Custar's divisions— which attacked at that point, and repulsed several charges upon different parts of the line. They were held at bay until the last of the train had passed the point attacked, when I was directed to follow the movement of General Custis Lee's division. Before my troops left the ground Gordon's advance appeared, while his rear was engaged with the enemy. I was not informed that Gordon would follow the wagon train as he did, and was therefore surprised on arriving at Sailor's Creek to find that my rear was menaced. As the troops in my front had halted, I detached Humphreys' brigade, commanded by Colonel Fitzgerald, and Gary's dismounted battalion, under Lieutenant-Colonel Barham, to take position near the house occupied as a hospital by Pickett's division, to cover my crossing of Sailor's Creek. Upon arriving at the top of the hill, on the south side of the creek, I was informed by General Ewell that the enemy had possession of the road in front of General Anderson, and that we were to hold the enemy in check while that officer attempted to open the way. My command then consisted of only three brigades, Humphreys, Simms', Brigadier-General J. P. Simms commanding, and DuBose's brigade, Brigadier-General D. M. DuBose commanding, and the dismounted cavalry already mentioned. The whole at the time amounted to less than two thousand effective men. DuBose was placed in the edge of the wood, with his right resting on the road; Simms on the right of the road, a little in advance. General Lee's division was on the left of the road, his right occupying a line in front of DuBose, his left on the same line, or nearly so. In the meantime the enemy attacked and overpowered Humphreys and the dismounted cavalry, forcing them back to my position. They were formed at once on the left of the road, and Simms was moved further to the right. The enemy planted batteries near the hospital, and swept our position at short range, and under cover of the fire the Second and Sixth corps attacked us. Both in Lee's front and my own they were repulsed with loss on every advance, but pressed us constantly with fresh troops, extending all the while to our left. During the attack I received from General Anderson a message through Captain S. D. Shannon, Aide-de-Camp, to the effect that he had commenced his movement, and hoped to be successful if I could hold out a few

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Sailor's Creek (Virginia, United States) (2)

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J. P. Simms (4)
D. M. DuBose (4)
Custis Lee (3)
Benjamin G. Humphreys (3)
R. H. Anderson (2)
S. D. Shannon (1)
Pickett (1)
William W. Gordon (1)
Gary (1)
Fitzgerald (1)
R. S. Ewell (1)
Custar (1)
Barham (1)
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